How Athletes Deal With the Physical and Emotional Toll and the Benefits They Receive


Nicole McKelvey

Skyline swimmer crushes the 200 I.M. against Dexter at the bird bath

Swimming is known to be one of the most difficult sports, due to the fact that it uses every major muscle group in your body and involves intensive training unlike any other sport. 

“Swimming has been a lot harder than other sports I’ve tried both due to the practice schedule and nature of workouts,” says Skyline swim captain Ben Edlund (‘23). “There are multiple double [practice] days throughout the week that are challenging both during workouts but also leave you tired afterwards and swim sets often have many different ‘all-out’ or long hold portions.” 

All swimmers know that cold sting you feel when you first jump into a pool. The classically frigid water of a swimming pool causes athletes to have more fatigue and muscle strain. Their bodies must work harder to stay warm because of a decrease in blood flow. 

Along with fatigue, swimming also strengthens your entire body. A hard swim set can work every muscle to exhaustion, which is why some people consider swimming to be the most difficult sport.

“All sports have their challenges,” says Skyline swim coach Mojo Murrett. “Swimming is very demanding due to the time commitment and the fact that it is very difficult to master. It is one of the few sports not played on land so it is not intuitive to humans.” 

While swimming has difficulties, it also has many benefits: “Personal accountability, Empathy, Self confidence, Goal setting, Physical fitness, Ability to function in a group setting, Lifelong friendships, Solid work ethic, and Overcoming disappointment,” are a few Murrett mentioned.

Some other benefits you can experience are healthy weight loss as well as improving your overall cardio-vascular health. It can even increase your life expectancy. 

Every swimmer knows physical health is boosted greatly by swimming. But few know that there can be great benefits to your mental health. It gives you a stronger ability to deal with daily stress and anxiety because of how mentally challenging it is.

 “Swimming has taught me how to work through hard things,”  says Lucas Caswell (‘24), “keep my nose to the grindstone, as they say.”